What are lip and tongue ties?
Tongue and lip ties are caused by thick or malformed oral tissues. Tongue ties are caused when the lingual frenulum (the membrane which connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth) is thick, short, or otherwise malformed.
Lip ties are, essentially, the same thing. This condition occurs when the frenulum which connects the upper or lower lip to the gums is thick, too short, or is otherwise improperly formed, causing mobility issues with the lips. Lip and tongue ties can lead to interferences with breastfeeding and speech development.
Checking For Tongue And Lip Ties
If you believe your baby may have one of these conditions, here are a few steps you can take to diagnose the issue.
- Look for issues when nursing – Tongue and lip ties usually make it difficult for your child to latch properly onto the nipple when breastfeeding. Look for symptoms such as an inability to properly nurse, clicking noises while the baby is suckling, excessive drooling, poor weight gain, or “gumming” and chewing of the nipple when feeding. These are all potential signs of tongue and lip ties.
- Examine the tongue or lip – Lay your baby down on your knees, facing you. Run your finger under their tongue. Does this membrane feel short, strong, or excessively thick? A normal tongue will allow for a smooth and uninterrupted swipe underneath the frenulum.
Your child’s tongue may also appear “short”, because they cannot stick it out properly, due to the excessive tissue.
Checking the lip is also quite simple. With your child in the same position, “flip” the upper or lower lip open, and feel for any resistance which could be caused by lip ties. Look at the small band of tissue that connects the lips to the gums. It should be quite thin and pliable. If it looks thick, it seems too short, or if the lip is difficult to move, lip ties may be present.
- Get a professional opinion – While examining your child for lip and tongue ties is a good place to start for a diagnosis, a professional examination from a qualified doctor like Dr. Buis or Dr. Mendez-Ceballos is required to determine the proper treatment method for your child. Come to Advanced Pediatric Dentistry right away for a diagnosis.
Treatment for lip and tongue ties
A simple surgical procedure called a frenectomy can be completed with or without anesthesia in office. At advanced Pediatric Dentistry, the Solea Laser is used to complete in office frenectomy procedures. This is the best option for babies and children because it is less invasive and fast-without patients experiencing excessive bleeding or discomfort.
What is the Solea Laser?
The Solea Laser is a CO2 all-tissue dental laser that is used for soft tissue corrections. The laser produces a very narrow, intense beam of light energy that—when it comes into contact with tissue—can remove or reshape the tissue. The Solea can be used on enamel, dentin, gum, and bone tissue.
The benefits of the Solea Laser are that treatments are faster, more precise, and most cases do not require anesthesia. This means that procedures result in less bleeding, minimal swelling, no sutures, minimal scar tissue, and almost no discomfort. There is also less chance of bacterial infections.